During the previous two articles of this series that involves different professional figures who analyse, from different angles, the subject matter of my work, we had the chance to acquire information related to its historical and a psychological interpretation.
Those contributes have been very important to me since, as previously stated, I am interested in using my project as a starting point for a potential PhD related to the relationship between Photography and Psychology/Sociology. My idea is to create a body of work that connects the use of Photography as a tool to investigate psychological and social problems and to connect it to Phototherapy: while into my current practice sitters and viewers have an active role in the creation and in the interpretation of my images, my future scope is to involve therapists and patients directly into the creative process.
But since “I can hear you now” wants to provide a wider perspective, related to the analysis of “negativity” in its broader meaning with the scope to transform it in the necessary positivity to face our everyday life, I decided to undertake different paths during my research.
For this reasons, thanks to the support and contributions of those “Professional authors”, I am now exploring different potential fields that might help my project in its development and improve their sustainability by starting to use it in support of individuals connected to different realities.
Thanks to the following article, written by Cristina Massano and Chiara Cattaneo, I realized that my project could also serve those future mothers who might need to release their sense of anxiety related to those big changes in their lives connected to procreation. This is why their words are very meaningful to me: they made me discover a new potential concrete use of my work and made me want to look for potential new collaborations with Associations like “Mamme di Luna” born with the aim of supporting women and men in following the path of a more informed and natural parenthood.
Hereafter, the third article of this series, in its English translation, written by Cristina Massano and Chiara Cattaneo.
Cristina Massano is a Doula, antenatal and neonatal Educator. She operates in Asti in direct contact with families. She offers them practical and emotional support starting from the moment of conception to those different growth-phases of their children
Chiara Cattaneo is a professional Midwife and a freelance Sexual Consultant. She works in Asti and in the Valsesia Region. She assists women during all different phases of their lives, especially during maternity and after childbirth. She also assists those women who decide to deliver at home.
They both collaborate with women, couples and families by creating support-paths for a positive and natural birth creating courses, examinations, consultations, assistance during both domestic and in hospital deliver and continuing this course during the first year of life of the newborn.
Cristina actively took part in the project “I can hear you now” with her husband during the months following the birth of her first daughter Adele. This is why she decided to write a professional consideration about its subject matter in collaboration with her co-worker. They reflected about their experiences with those new-mothers they assisted: the act of screaming and the use of the voice, in most cases, has been a “loyal fellow” during the labour phase and for pain-management.
In relation with the testimonies of those women that have been gathered into the first section of this article, they have been collected during those days following the deliver, at the Hospital or into the domestic environment; the second ones during post-partum meetings in order to investigate the motherhood-perspective in relation with the topic “Also newborns need to scream”.
STORIES OF MOTHERS AFTER THE DELIVER
“Vocalising during the labour phase was instinctive, nothing planned in advance. It helped me to abandon me, supporting the flow of becoming a mother” GIULIA
“I promised myself not to scream, but I did it! But being always with my baby, guiding him, following the same trip together, this birth. Voice is important even the one of new-fathers. Voices guide the baby!” LUANA
“I can affirm that singing represented to me a great companion in this adventure and every vocalism cradled my pain, sustaining me in the sweetest way possible during the long and painful, but unforgettable, travel of my baby and our first encounter” SARA
“Singing has been the medium that made me accept the pain making it pass through my body, but the scream has been the act that liberated me from pain” STEFANIA
“A positive conscious wave, sometimes unreasonably unbearable, the liberating energy of last push, accompanied by a scream, marked a moment of detachment, but also the birth of an indescribable special bond” ROMINA
During uterine contraction, that we define as “A Wave”, the use of the vocalism, with a background sound, is a powerful analgesic instrument. The woman starts whispering an A and then she articulate all vowels in different tones to conclude with a M.
Sounds are modulate with breath during the whole phase of the breathing out and of the wave, having a deep impact on a psychic and emotional level. This type of vocalisation is defined “Carnatic chant” or as “The chant of vowels” and it is a tradition born in the south Region of India during 2000 a.C. It has been transmitted from generation to generation and during the 70s has been resumed and used by the French gynaecologist Frédérick Leboyer.
Chanting is a big help to guide the body in each phase of the deliver, to let the pain cross it and to release tension, but saving energies at the same time, living the labour in a more active way. Moreover, it allows women to improve the awareness of abdominal breath, mitigating muscular tension. The validity of the “Carnatic chant” is originated by the deep connection between mouth/throat and vagina/cervix developed starting by the embryonic germ during the first trimester of pregnancy. A relaxed mouth is translated into a more elastic vagina and, on the other hand, those women who tend to clamp their jawbones will have more rigid perineal tissues.
Thanks to vocalisations, oxygenation increases also at a placental level, with healthy consequences for the unborn child. The vowel A facilitates the relaxation of the throat and, as consequence, it generates a superior cervical extension and perineal distension. The emission of lower sounds, then, facilitates the progression of the newborn into the canal of deliver. There are not only physical benefits: the chant produces a pleasant feeling to the woman who practices it, since it generates a release of endorphins. The voice results as one of the most powerful “analgesic instruments” during labour.
During the final phase, those contractions generated by the head of the newborn descending the channel of deliver, the act of screaming (a liberating scream, guttural, brief, prolonged or blown) helps the woman to guide her baby towards the light and towards herself. Screaming supports the effort, it fosters the relaxation and the aperture of the perineal tissue. The woman who screams giving birth her own child is powerful, but sometimes this instinct can frighten the woman herself and the staff assisting her.
But the act of opening the mouth with the subsequent generation of a scream is liberating, it is the way to abandon and shut off the rational part of the brain to unload everything her body “tells her to do”. The “good parturient” who suffers in silent, is an imposition of some professionals who do not accept and do not respect her instinct during the act of giving birth.
“My children deserved to be exposed to life at their pace in order to leave my internal hug and immediately find my heart” SILVIA
ALSO NEWBORNS NEED TO SCREAM
“When mom doesn’t understand… I cry!” PAOLA & VITTORIA
“The cry of a newborn is the most enigmatic thing ever! Sometimes I tell Arianna: Speak Arianna! Speak… Why don’t you speak?” CHIARA & ARIANNA
“Marco’s never been a moaner, maybe this is why when he cries I panic… Even into the delivery room I have been waiting with anxiety to hear him cry” PAOLA &MARCO
“Every newborn’s crying is an alarm signal for his mother…” GIULIA & GIOELE
“The cry of a newborn is the expression of a need that, if unsatisfied, can result in a sense of inconsolability on into silence” SILVIA & CECILIA
“The way my baby cries is so intense, but as soon as it gradually increases it becomes more brief and it is easier to comfort her” STEFANIA & EMILY
Thank God, the baby cries! Otherwise how would he communicate with his parents? The newborn has no social restrictions, he doesn’t know that screaming is not a good social habit and he does not own another medium to communicate his needs.
The scream of a newborn causes distress into adults, especially in his own parents: it forces them to a bigger level of attention to research a potential solution to bridge a need and to placate their child crying (it even stimulates hormonal consequences, like the oxytocic’ reflex of milk’s emission).
Only in this way the newborn slowly gives a sense to his sensations, to his malaises, to his lacks: the continuing response of his parents to his cry.
This because it is true that small children often don’t even know why they cry: hunger, sleepiness, need to be changed, the sensation of hot or cold, boredom, need of physical contact or… Who knows! “Human puppies” are born immature and completely depending on adults. Let’s imagine if they would only communicate by smiling: we would go back to sleep with no worries. Only with time, various attempts and the mutual physical contact with his parents they discover each other and, finally, the meaning of some of those screams becomes clear!
Reacting to a baby crying by trying to interpret it and avoiding to ignore it is important to develop a safe attachment, to handle separation anxiety around the sixth month of his life and to generate a sense of trust in the parental figures: this is also very important to reach a good psychological stability during the adult age.
To conclude, from our professional perspective the artistic project “I can hear you now”, created by Dayana Marconi, could become an opportunity for all those women who are dealing with the maternity path. It can make them feel authorised to use their voice and to scream during the labour and the deliver. Moreover, it might help the new-parents in understanding that the newborn cry is rarely a symptom of a disease or the expression of a tantrum, but that it is always a medium to communicate and that must engage an active response.
Original Italian article: written by Cristina Massano & Chiara Cattaneo.
English translation: Dayana Sharon Marconi.
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